By Freddie G. Lazaro

SAN FERNANDO CITY, La Union – The Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 1 had set its rice resiliency programs (RRP) implementation benefitting the rice farmers in the region with a total of P1,321,254,000.00 budget allocation.

The RRP fund for Region 1 is part of the approved P8.5 billion fund out of the P31 billion budgetary requirements nationwide for the Plant Plant Plant Program under the DA’s Alpas COVID -19 Program.

Of the P1.3B fund, DA Region 1 will use the P478,565,000.00 for the procurement of the hybrid seeds, and the P45,600,000.00 for the purchase of Inbred seeds while the remaining fund will use for other programs to enhance the rice productivity amid the presence of COVID-19 pandemic.

According to DA-RFO I’s Regional Executive Director Lucrecio Alviar, Jr. the RRP in Ilocos region has three major components: the Expanded Hybrid Rice Production, the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) and the Expanded Inbred Rice Production.

The RRP had an ultimate aim at improving the productivity of local rice farmers and increase the level of food adequacy amidst the challenging situation brought by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under the Expanded Hybrid Rice Production component, DA will give 15 kilos hybrid seeds (per hectare) on its 125,000 hectares targeted areas for this wet season amounting to P853,565,000. For every three bags of fertilizer purchased by farmers, DA-RFO 1 will provide three bags of urea fertilizer as part of its intervention to farmer beneficiaries under this program.

For the RCEF Enhanced Component of the RRP, seeds for distribution will come from the Philippine Rice Research Institute as a component of the RCEF following the guidelines being implemented by the program. With a maximum of three hectares, at 40 kilos per hectare, farmer-beneficiaries shall be given the intervention proportionate to their existing area size. Along with the seeds to be given, DA-RFO 1 will also provide additional 2 bags of urea fertilizer for every two bags fertilizer purchased by the farmer as part of the intervention.

For the coming wet season, DA will be giving a total of 199,155 bags of fertilizer to cover the 99,578 hectare planted with certified seeds regionwide.

Meanwhile, for the Expanded Inbred Rice Production component, DA-RFO I will also be providing certified seeds good for 30,000 hectares in addition to RCEF intervention.The remaining 81,647 hectares will come from other sources like direct purchases of farmers and some LGU-led seed subsidy programs being implemented in the four provinces.

In support to this project, DA will also be giving additional two bags of urea fertilizer for every farmer-beneficiary in coordination with the Local Government Units in the region.

Director Alviar took the initiative in realizing the preparatory activities of requesting seed companies on the availability of volume of different rice varieties in their warehouses to assure the availability of seeds in time for the coming wet cropping season.

Aside from this close coordination with the seed companies, DA Region 1’s top management has likewise informed seed growers’ cooperatives for the early delivery and positioning of certified seeds under the RCEF program in coordination with PhilRice.

Alviar along with these preparatory activities has likewise reiterated his request to the DA national to expedite DA Region I’s request for the realignment of around P126 million under the Rice Program for the procurement of seeds this wet cropping season on top of the RRP and funds from the other DA’s major Banner Programs amounting to P165.2 million in support to DA’s Plant Plant Plant Program.